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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

Sunday, September 17, 2023

SIOUX FALLS - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier has sentenced a Yankton, South Dakota, woman convicted of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Misrepresentation, Fraud, Forgery, Deception, and Subterfuge. The sentencing took place on September 11, 2023.

Lisa Merrigan, age 55, was sentenced to two years of probation and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Merrigan was indicted by a federal grand jury in October of 2022. She pleaded guilty on July 5, 2023.

The conviction stemmed from incidents between June 19, 2021, and September 11, 2021. Merrigan, worked as a registered nurse at a hospital in Chamberlain, South Dakota, during that time period. Merrigan tampered with a vial of fentanyl citrate for injection properly stored within the hospital, by removing the fentanyl citrate for injection from the vial and replacing the majority of it with saline solution. Merrigan then returned the tampered vial to storage, knowing that the diluted fentanyl citrate for injection could be dispensed to surgical patients at the hospital. Fentanyl citrate is a Schedule II controlled substance that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use to relieve severe pain during and after surgery. The fentanyl in the tampered vial was so diluted that had the vial been dispensed to a surgical patient, the pain management would have been minimal or unsuccessful.

This case was investigated by the FDA, Office of Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hoffman prosecuted the case.

USAO - South Dakota